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Having a Poco Weekend

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Piermont, N.Y. – October 17, 2004

I was supposed to join my brother Dan, a long-time die-hard fan of the country-rock pioneers Poco, for a concert in the summer of 2004 and to be a part of his Poco weekend in Massachusetts. Our show was going to be on Saturday night in Barnstable County at the fairgrounds. He was traveling from his home in Rochester, New York to catch an additional show the prior evening in Springfield.

POCO played two sold-out shows at the historic Turning Point Cafe in Piermont, N.Y.

This was to be the second time we would have seen the band together. We planned an outing in the summer of 2002 to catch a free show in downtown Albany, New York and the band rocked and pleased the several thousands of fervent fans on River Street overlooking the Hudson River. The electrified music flowed and the band's famous harmonies were on rich display throughout the set. Afterwards, Dan and I had the privilege and honor to sit down with Rusty Young, Paul Cotton and George Grantham in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Hotel for an up-close and personal encounter and interview with the legends of country rock.

POCO fans Dan Lynch (l) and Stephen Garvan (r) meet on the streets of New York!

I was psyched to see the band again.

That's when Dan called me up on Friday night from the show and he sounded truly stunned. Relaying the bad news he told me how Poco drummer George Grantham had suffered a serious stroke onstage during the start of the band's first song of the night. He reported that medics attended to George and the band eventually played on for 5000 gathered fans as an acoustic trio. But, George was definitely on their minds.

Dan reported that he had spoke to Rusty Young after the show and the band would be flying in a substitute drummer for the show in Barnstable County the next night. I found myself saddened by the situation and reminded of the last time someone we knew had a stroke in Massachusetts, our Dad, Daniel Lynch, Jr.

Earlier in the day we had booked an interview for with E Street Band guitar player Nils Lofgren on Monday morning. Taking in my suddenly increased workload and this new, uncertain situation with the band I regrettably reported to Dan that I would be staying home that weekend, unsure of when the next opportunity to catch Poco together would arise.

We didn't have to wait too long.

At the end of August the world famously intimate Turning Point Cafe announced Poco was scheduled to perform two shows on Sunday, October 17, 2004. We conferred and got ourselves some tickets, looking forward to our chance to have another Poco weekend once again on the bank of the Hudson River in Piermont, New York.

In planning our all-new adventure we decided to incorporate a trip to New York City to visit The Today Show on the Saturday of the weekend's show. Dan arrived early in the afternoon on Friday with one goal on his mind – to make a high quality POCO sign to take with us to the Today Show. We worked hard all afternoon cutting, pasting and taping – creating a high-quality glossy sign in full-color. It looked great. We headed out to eat and went to bed early. Myself, Laura and Dan were up at 5 a.m. on Saturday to catch a bus to the big city.

It soon became apparent that this trip was being guided by forces unseen – at least that's how it seemed to us. There were too many chance and synchronous events that occurred throughout the morning that kept leading us all day to the perfect place at the perfect time.

I won't recount them all but we missed the first bus by seconds, watching it speed on by as we pulled into the commuter parking lot at the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, New Jersey. That, only after I had missed an exit that I was well familiar with. We got on the next bus at 7:00 a.m. and as we entered the city the normal ramp into Port Authority was blocked off and our driver was quickly out of his element, he didn't know what to do. He radioed in for help and then drove up an incline that was open and elevated on both sides. This time the driver was stumped by some road cones. A utility worker present on the ramp directed our driver to back it up. All the while time was ticking off the clock and I was wondering if there was any chance we would make it to the show on time.

We did make it just in time for the start of the 8 o'clock hour but we were behind schedule and the next task was to find a place to hold up our signs. There was a pretty dense crowd already surrounding the barrier around the peacock network show's famous outdoor set. I was doubtful that we would find a good spot to display our signs. As it turned out, Dan ended up in a location that allowed the Poco sign fully exposed coverage for roughly 30 seconds. By my estimation his sign received the majority and most sustained coverage of the day! We found out later in the day through fan sites that the sign had in fact been spotted by several fans from all over North America.

Having accomplished our early morning mission wildly beyond our imaginations we decided to head downtown to visit Ground Zero. We were struck by the sight and how the memorial has become a popular spot for tourists. On display were the names of all the victims of that tragic day and a large sign hung nearby that said, No War, No More Lies, and Dissent is Patriotic. We were moved by the whole scene but our day wasn't done. We had more work to do.

Paul Cotton, Jack Sundrud and Rusty Young sign the sign seen on The Today Show!

Our next destination was Bleeker Street in the Village to look for vinyl or CD music by The Great Plains, the country rock band fronted by Poco's current bassist, Jack Sundrud. Dan was scheduled to conduct a sit-down interview with Jack on the day of the Piermont shows and he was in pursuit of some additional research material.

Once again the forces of fate would lead us to an unexplainable chance encounter. Our cab dropped us off at Bleeker Street and we were immediately drawn to the sign for House of Oldies: World Headquarters for Out of Print 45's and LP's but when we arrived at the door there was a note saying, "Be right back in 15 minutes."

We then unwittingly walked away from most of the other records stores (as we would later find out) in the Village. Discovering our error we turned around about an hour later and retraced our steps back to the House of Oldies. This time it was open for business and we walked right in. Dan inquired about The Great Plains and I mentioned out loud that there we no Poco records in the "P" section.

"Poco?", the owner said, "the last guy here was looking for them."

Paul Cotton and Rusty Young have carried the POCO mantle for more than 30 years!

We both then turned our eyes toward the street to see a gentleman who resembled Poco founder Richie Furay holding three LPs that he found in the Poco section of the store's basement. This person turned out to be Stephen Garvan, a music manager from Boulder, Colorado, who was in town to speak at the CMJ Music Marathon 2004.

Dan and Stephen conversed about their favorite subject matter for nearly a half an hour. Mr. Garvan then offered Dan CDs by two of the acts he currently manages – each with a Poco connection on their latest release. Well of Mercy by Michael Kelsh features Rusty Young on every track while Spark by Chris Daniels showcases Richie Furay on backing vocals.

We stopped at another store on the way home still in search for our research material for the next day's interview. The story was the same at The Sound Exchange in Wayne. We didn't find any material by The Great Plains but Dan did find an out of print special copy of Cantamos and a unique promotional copy of the band's Legacy CD with a cut out horse on the cover, which was a nice way to complete the day!

Rusty Young – hard at work!

On Sunday, Dan got his chance to sit down and interview bass-player Sundrud in a private setting at Piermont's Sidewalk Cafe where they talked for nearly an hour about life, music, songwriting and living in the band.

The two sold-out shows at The Turning Point were by all accounts special, made more so by the intimacy that the club is so well-known for.

The band took the stage shortly after 7 p.m. for a two-hour set which highlighted many rarities and unplugged versions of fan favorites by the acoustic trio. The band seemed relaxed and comfortable but Paul Cotton was facing the dual challenges of battling a cold and playing a strange guitar. Paul reported the baggage handlers of the airline he was on mishandled his guitar, snapping the neck of his traveling acoustic. But a fan named New York Paul came through with a black Takamine that performed reasonably well until the bottom end started acting up for the band's last few songs. The set list spanned Poco's impressive catalogue and included Save a Corner of Your Heart, Keep on Tryin', Crazy Love, Ride The Country, Call It Love, Child's Claim to Fame, Kind Woman, Never Loved...Never Hurt, Rose of Cimarron, Good Feelin' To Know, Pickin' Up the Pieces, Grand Junction, Cajun Moon, Shake It, Indian Summer, What Do People Know?, It Must Be Love, Spellbound, Legend, Heart of the Night, and On the Way Home.

Dan's Poco Weekend was complete on Sunday night. The band was greeting fans and signing autographs after the show. Dan unfurled the Poco sign we had made two days ago and had it signed by the three members of Poco who had performed the evening's shows. Mission accomplished once again!

Jack Sundrud and Paul Cotton onstage at The Turning Point Cafe! (photo/Dan Lynch)

After a thirteen year break between records Poco has been very busy of late – touring, recording and recapturing their place in rock history. The band seems more determined then ever to keep their legend alive. The recent years and months have seen the release of much new and older Poco music. The band's recent studio record, 2002's Running Horse, was well-received by fans and critics alike. A new live disc from the Timothy B. Schmidt era, the awe-inspiring The Last Roundup from 1977 was released in the the summer and Poco's new live CD w/Bonus DVD ("Keep The Legend Alive") is being released by Madacy Entertainment on 11/23/2004. The concert was taped at Nashville's Belcourt Theatre on May 20, 2004 and features Rusty Young, Richie Furay, Paul Cotton, George Grantham and Jack Sundrud. The CD/DVD will be available in most stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Dan and I were determined to do our part to keep the legend alive during our latest Poco weekend together! You can help, too! Go out and pick up a copy of the band's new release and drop by their official website today!!!

This sign was seen in the vicinity of Ground Zero in New York City.

Related Links: For more information on POCO and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Poco Official Site | Buy The NEW DVD/CD!!! | Buy Running Horse | Turning Point Cafe


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